Generation Change: Designing the Future

Spong is a favorite of mine. :blush:

When our boys were still living with us, we always made it a point to go to church weekly. We would then return home and talk about the sermon, explore other interpretations that would make it relevant to our lives and talk about “others” with the point of making sure our boys understood that our behaviors are our own responsibility and not others.

I was once watching the old “Phil” TV show years ago where one of the participants blamed his barber for giving him a bad haircut and from then on his life “suddenly changed for the worse” and he was never his old normal self. It made quite an impression on me and now I fully understand why. We also know that any church is open to all who have lived different life experiences, have different personality traits including odd coping skills. The point I’m making is in addition to your excellent suggestion of making sure the young know we have their backs, parents also have a responsibility of restructuring their children’s misperceptions about church. And for us adults to understand that no church member is perfect (in any church) and it is on the “more perfect” member to lead the way.

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I couldn’t agree more, and not just parents but church members. This poor kid didn’t have the parental structure to support him as his dad had been the abuser and his mother was uneducated and in denial as to why her husband was in prison. He started coming to our church on his own bat and had been taken in by the congregation.

I was able to mitigate the damage to some extent by as diplomatically as possible taking the elder to task, and remaining interested in Travis’ life, but he never came back to church except once or twice following that incident.

We cannot predict or prevent insensitivity or idiocy in our congregations. People are going to pull these kinds of things, sometimes repeatedly and sometimes maliciously. It’s what humans do, but if we’re going to have a discussion about retaining members we must discuss this because not everyone has the same grounding and support structure to be able to withstand these hurricanes.


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